Charles R. Schwab, 81, is a successful businessman and golfer. And the founder of the company that bears his names didn’t mince his words about the advisory business or the Ryder Cup golf event during his talk at the annual Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association conference on Tuesday in Washington.
Speaking of the Ryder Cup, which he attended recently in France, Schwab said, “It’s a deep, rough course.”
The climate for advisors and others in the brokerage business today is similar, he suggested. “The general public still thinks we’re a bunch of used-car salesmen,” he said, adding that he harbors no ill will for those hawking autos.
How can the industry turn this image around? Schwab, who started the company he chairs in 1971 in San Francisco, points to the need to help investors retire securely and to embrace a clear fiduciary objective.
“As for the advice portion of the business, I worry about it … We have a responsibility for people’s savings. That’s all important. People … can easily be led down the wrong path,” he said.
“I worry a lot about what being a fiduciary really means — effectively giving direction for those with hard-earned savings? What is good advice?” the veteran businessman and philanthropist asked.
“There is lots of advice, and the industry needs to grapple with this. We still don’t have much confidence [with]in the general public,” he said.